Isle of Man public consulted on same-sex marriage

image captionAllan Bell said the issue of same-sex marriage will be debated in the parliament of Tynwald during the next year following a public consultation

A consultation has been launched on the Isle of Man to gauge public opinion on plans to legalise same-sex marriage.

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill is based on the same legal framework introduced in England last year.

It would enable couples on the island to marry in a civil ceremony or subject to agreement, in a religious ceremony.

Chief Minister Allan Bell, who has backed the plans, said he expects the consultation to "generate strong and polarised views".

"I believe that the values of fairness and tolerance are shared by the overwhelming majority of people in our island and that allowing loving, committed couples of the same sex to be married in no way undermines the institution of marriage," he added.

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 was introduced in England and Wales on 29 March 2014.

The law change triggered a rush of couples vying to be the first to tie the knot.

'Right time'

"None of us could have imagined that less than five years later same sex couples would be able to marry in three out of the four nations of the United Kingdom," continued Mr Bell.

"That the Republic of Ireland would have voted in a referendum for the introduction of legislation to allow same sex couples to marry; or that the US Supreme Court would have ruled in favour of same sex couples being able to marry in all of the fifty States of America,"

"The time is right for this legislation to be introduced," said Mr Bell.

The consultation runs until 13 November.

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